Jail­ing of young ac­tivists

The Korea Times - - OPINION -

Three young Hong Kong pro-democ­racy ac­tivists were handed jail sen­tences last week for their il­le­gal ac­tions, not their be­liefs. But as they were lead­ers of a move­ment that has been driven by stu­dents and un­der-30s, the tougher sen­tences that had been sought by the Depart­ment of Jus­tice have also been viewed by some as an af­front to the hopes and as­pi­ra­tions of younger gen­er­a­tions. Top of­fi­cials have since been at pains to re­as­sure, pledg­ing that the gov­ern­ment’s youth poli­cies are un­changed. There has to be a broad­en­ing and strength­en­ing of that en­gage­ment.

The trio, Joshua Wong Chi-fung, 20, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, 24, and Alex Chow Yong-kang, 27, per­fectly fit the de­mo­graphic of Hong Kong’s pop­u­la­tion that has in re­cent years been ex­press­ing pes­simism about the future. High among their wor­ries are eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties, job mo­bil­ity, widen­ing in­equal­ity and un­af­ford­able home prices. Hav­ing a greater say in their destiny through a po­lit­i­cal voice was seen by some as a so­lu­tion, and the stu­dent lead­ers seized on that to push an agenda cen­tred on protest and oc­cu­pa­tion of pub­lic spaces.

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